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Spark Plugs: Problems and Solutions

Out of all the moving parts that make a car run, it’s safe to say that spark plugs are one of the most important. After all, it’s the spark that ignites the fuel in a gasoline combustion engine and without it you’re going nowhere. So, understanding how your spark plugs work and how to maintain them, is pretty crucial. To help keep your engine running smoothly, we’re breaking down some of the common issues with spark plugs and how to fix them.

1. Misfiring –

You know that sort of skipping your engine does, where it feels like it stumbled for a moment? That’s usually a misfire in the cylinder and is very often due to a worn, cracked, or dirty spark plug. If your plugs don’t appear cracked or damaged, but look dirty, you can try cleaning them with a wire brush and spray on plug cleaner.

2. Idles Rough –

If your engine sounds rough when idling and vibrates excessively, it may mean you need to change or clean your plugs.

3. Burning Excess Fuel –

Poor fuel economy is another sign that you may have a spark plug problem. It doesn’t always mean your plugs need replacing. Sometimes the gap between the spark plug electrodes can be adjusted, allowing it to burn fuel more efficiently.

4. Hard Time Starting –

Worn out plugs can have difficulty generating a spark, making starting the engine difficult if not impossible to start. If you have to crank the engine multiple times to get your car to start, your spark plugs may need replacing.

5. Hesitates on Acceleration –

When your car hesitates when you step on the gas and then surges suddenly, it might be a spark plug problem. Just like most spark plug problems, cleaning your plugs might fix the issue but if that doesn’t do the trick, get them replaced.

Routine maintenance can often detect spark plug issues, so be sure to ask your mechanic to check them the next time you go in for an oil change. If you’re among the mechanically inclined, you can check them yourself periodically. If it’s hard to keep you away from all things under the hood, maybe a career in automotive technology is right for you! If that sparks your interest, you should check out the Automotive and Diesel Technology Programs at J-Tech Institute. J-Tech is helping students get ASE Certified training in a realistic setting. If you’re ready to drive your future forward, contact us today or schedule a tour of our facility in Jacksonville, FL.

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